Author: Michael C Hurley
Publisher: Ragbagger Press
Type of book: Vineyard, Martha's Vineyard, north, old money, family, duty, wealth, culture, friendship, betrayal, 2000s, choices, freedom, mild religion
Year it was published: 2014
From Michael Hurley, winner of the Chanticleer Reviews Grand Prize for his debut novel, THE PRODIGAL, comes a complex and ambitious tale of old money, young passion, and ancient mystery in a classic New England seaside town.
Dory Delano, Charlotte Harris, and Turner Graham have been drifting through life since their days as roommates at Smith College, ten years ago. Dory is resisting taking the reins of her family’s legacy and fortune even as she relishes the fabulous lifestyle it affords her in the fashionable seaside resort of Martha’s Vineyard. She invites her old friends to join her for a summer on the Vineyard in hopes of rediscovering the innocence of old days and healing new wounds. But hidden in their midst and unknown to all but a few, a reclusive—some say dangerous—fisherman wanders alone, fueling wild speculation about his purpose and his past. None of these women can imagine the events their encounter with the fisherman will set in motion, the shadow he will cast over their destinies, or the transformation that awaits the world they know.
The main characters include Charlotte, Dory and Turner. Personality wise, I don't know much about Charlotte and Dory, except that Charlotte's daughter has passed away recently and she blames herself that her daughter wasn't given a Catholic funeral. Dory desires to run away from the life forced upon her and to be more of a free woman, while Turner is more sexually liberated as well as very mouthy. In some cases the characters seemed more masculine than feminine. While there are some male characters such as the mysterious fisherman as well as Tripp and Smoke, besides Fisherman, none really let me get to know their innards.
Have no fear
The story is in third person narrative primarily from Turner, Charlotte and Dory's points of views. I have to admit that a number of things were suspension of belief for me: for example if they were close friends, how come Dory's mother had no idea who they were? Also, the characters's thoughts seemed to overlap a lot which made it hard to understand whom speaking to whom. (One minute Dory would be thinking something then the story moved on to Turner.) I also feel that the culture the author tried to bring to life wasn't very successful for me because it was difficult for me to get it and to understand it. And yes, I love long books where I get to learn about thoughts and actions of characters from different backgrounds. (I've read Gone with the Wind numerous times, Tale of Genji twice!)
About Michael Hurley
Michael Hurley and his wife Susan live near Charleston, South Carolina. Born and raised in Baltimore, Michael holds a degree in English from the University of Maryland and law from St. Louis University.
The Prodigal, Michael’s debut novel from Ragbagger Press, received the Somerset Prize for mainstream fiction and numerous accolades in the trade press, including Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, ForeWord Reviews, BookTrib, Chanticleer Reviews, andIndieReader. It is currently in development for a feature film by producer Diane Sillan Isaacs. Michael’s second novel, The Vineyard, is due to be released by Ragbagger Press in December 2014.
Michael’s first book, Letters from the Woods, is a collection of wilderness-themed essays published by Ragbagger Press in 2005. It was shortlisted for Book of the Year byForeWord magazine. In 2009, Michael embarked on a two-year, 2,200 mile solo sailing voyage that ended with the loss of his 32-foot sloop, the Gypsy Moon, in the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti in 2012. That voyage and the experiences that inspired him to set sail became the subject of his memoir, Once Upon A Gypsy Moon, published in 2013 by Hachette Book Group.
When he is not writing, Michael enjoys reading and relaxing with Susan on the porch of their rambling, one-hundred-year-old house. His fondest pastimes are ocean sailing, playing piano and classical guitar, cooking, and keeping up with an energetic Irish terrier, Frodo Baggins.
I'm not sure if I can articulate why I wasn't fond of the book: while it was somewhat religious in tone, it definitely didn't shove it down my throat, and it seemed realistic in handling different responses to faith, which I liked. I think my main problems with the story is that the characters seemed a bit hard to relate, at least for me, and few times I didn't think their actions were like women's actions. I like that they were strong women characters, but I felt discomfort that for someone who comes from old money, their behavior didn't match that of old money. I read quite a few books about characters from wealthy background and for them, image and presentation was everything. My friend Jennifer who also experienced the elite and wealthy life provided the background for the books I read, mentioning how little has changed. I think I expected that from the characters, but it didn't happen. ( If they were more reserved but had modern tendencies I would have been okay with that.) I also liked that some of the things about Catholic faith were explained for those who aren't Catholics, and its odd that the book seems to be a bit of a reversal for Angel of Losses by Stephanie Feldman.
This is for TLC Book Tour
Michael’s Tour Stops
Monday, November 3rd: Back Porchervations
Tuesday, November 4th: missris
Wednesday, November 5th: The Book Wheel
Thursday, November 6th: The many thoughts of a reader
Friday, November 7th: Book Journey
Monday, November 10th: Kritters Ramblings
Wednesday, November 12th: Book Loving Hippo
Wednesday, November 12th: Jorie Loves a Story
Thursday, November 13th: Lisa’s Yarns
Friday, November 14th: Open Book Society
Monday, November 17th: Another Clean Slate
Tuesday, November 18th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, November 19th: Read a Latte
Friday, November 21st: Read-Love-Blog
Monday, November 24th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Monday, November 24th: Book, Books Everywhere!
Tuesday, November 25th: Priscilla and Her Books
Wednesday, November 26th: A Chick Who Reads
Friday, November 28th: Fuelled by Fiction3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)